Athletes to watch in Rio

 

h/t NBC Sports

 

There has been a lot to talk leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic games which are set to kick off tomorrow and not all of it has been comforting.  Unfortunately the Zika virus, living conditions, prostitution, and security concerns have overshadowed many of the exciting athletes and teams that will be competing in this year’s olympic games.  It’s also worth pointing out that with all of these concerns the Rio Olympic organizers will be spending their stay on luxury cruise liner docked off shore ironically named “The Getaway”.  What does that say about the condition when the people in charge won’t even stay within the confines of the event. Nonetheless, we are not interested in what the organizers are doing and the games will go on.  

 

Let’s take a look at some American Olympians that should open some eyes in Brazil.

 

Vashti Cunningham, Track and Field– This 18 year old high jumper is the daughter of former star NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham can jump through the roof and is the youngest United States track and field Olympian in over 30 years.  In March at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championship Vashti took the crown with a 6-foot-6 ¼ inch leap and a week later won the event at the world indoor championships.  Keep an eye out for Cunningham as she has the poise, ferocity, and guidance to bring home the gold in the high jump for the United States.  

 

Sue Bird and Carmelo Anthony, Basketball- Bird and Anthony will both be playing in their fourth and presumably final Olympics and along the way have set the standard for Olympic basketball greatness. Bird already has 3 gold medals to her name and is looking to add a fourth this year.  Melo has two golds and a bronze medal to his name and is the first American male to play in 4 Olympics.  If Melo and Team USA manage to grab a medal in Rio, he will become the most decorated men’s olympic basketball player ever. Expect Bird and Anthony to lead their respective teams deep into the tournament and deliver a gold for the U.S.

 

Michael Phelps, Swimming- Phelps is already the most decorated Olympian the world has ever seen and he is not done yet.  After a somewhat disappointing 2012 Olympics (4 gold medals and 2 silver medals), Phelps is planning on leaving it all in the pool in his final Olympics.  The 31 year old will be looking to add to his medal count in his 5th Olympics as he qualified in 3 individual events and is eligible for 3 relay events.  Every time Phelps is in the pool in Rio you can bet all eyes will be on him and I don’t expect him to disappoint.

 

Simone Biles, Gymnastics- Standing at 4 foot 8 inches Biles is set to take the gymnastic world by storm in Rio.  The 19 year old from Columbus, Ohio has a lot of hype to live up to and expect her to live up to all the hype in the 6 events she competes in Rio.  Biles strength is the all-around competition but expect her to medal in all of the events she is in.  It’s been a long time since the United States has had a gymnast as dominant as Biles and you can expect a world class performance in Rio.

 

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